Thomas Tuchel has explained why Kepa Arrizabalaga was called up for today’s clash with Tottenham.
Chelsea face London rivals Spurs today at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as they look to continue their impressive start to the season.
And upon the release of the lineups, there was one surprise starter, in particular, with Kepa chosen as the starting goalkeeper with third-choice Marcus Bettenelli on the bench.
With usual starter Edouard Mendy not even on the bench, it was pretty clear there was an injury at play, and Chelsea boss Tuchel has confirmed as much ahead of the game.
“Edou got a huge hit and we tried everything in the last days,” Tuchel told Chelsea’s 5th Stand App.
“He never felt fully comfortable in diving and getting another hit on it. Yesterday in training, we decided if a miracle doesn’t happen overnight then Kepa will play.”
The appearance is just Kepa’s second of the season having started the UEFA Super Cup win over Villarreal.
The Spaniard has been heavily criticised since his arrival at Chelsea in 2018, but his form has improved over the last year, and he is now seen as a strong back-up for the in-form Mendy.
It’s unclear when Mendy will return, but it does appear likely he will be back for Chelsea’s key Premier League clash with Man City next weekend, while Kepa is likely to face Villa in the Carabao Cup during the week.